While the Modern Hebrew alphabet consists of twenty-two letters, the evidence suggests that there were additional letters in the original Semitic and Hebrew alphabet. One of the ancient Semitic languages of Canaan was Ugarit. This ancient language is almost identical to the Hebrew language of the Bible but, instead of consisting of twenty-two letters it has twenty-eight letters. One of the major differences between Ugarit and Hebrew is the additional letter "ghah". Evidence, such as will be presented here, suggest that the letter "ghah" exists within the Hebrew text of the Bible.
One Word - Two Meanings (The Letters Ayin and Ghah)
The strongest evidence of the missing ghah can be found in two different meanings of one Hebrew word. The Hebrew word ra’ (רע in modern Hebrew) can mean “friend” or “bad”. The examples in the table below (Table 1) list several of these double meaning words that contain the letter ע (ayin). The first column is the word as it appears in the modern Hebrew Bible. The second column is the word spelled with the ancient Hebrew letter ayin (which looked like and eye) and its meaning. The third column is the word spelled with the ancient Hebrew letter g (ghah – which looked like a twisted rope) and its meaning.
Greek Transliterations of the Ghah
Additional evidence to the existence of the letter ghah is the Greek transliteration of Hebrew names. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek about 2,000 years ago, the translator transliterated the Hebrew names into Greek.
When we examine Hebrew names that contain the Hebrew letter ayin (ע), we find two different methods of transliterating the letter. Table 2 below contains Hebrew names where the ayin is not transliterated because it is a silent letter, while Table 3 contains Hebrew names where the ayin is transliterated with the Greek letter “Gamma” (G or g).